Nancy and I spent a couple hours on the Freedom Trail recently. It’s the path through Boston that allows you to see some of the great sites of the American Revolution. Paul Revere’s house, Old North Church, Boston Common, the site of the Boston Massacre. In those sites, revolution happened.

The trail is marked with red. Sometimes it’s a red brick path, sometimes it’s just a six-inch stripe of red paint. You follow the path through Boston. There are signs on the buildings. You can do it as part of a tour with people in costume or you can listen on your MP3 player or you can use a map that you get at the visitor center. Or, if you are like us and arrive after everything closes, you can just follow the path.

When those events were happening, there wasn’t a red line or a brick path connecting them. They weren’t historical sites. They were places where people lived and argued and laughed and wept and died. Real people. Real tears. Real voices.

As we were on the trail, we walked past three guys digging up the sidewalk, welding re-wire, making a mess. Right on the red line. Right where history was, people are.

For traditionalists, this has to be annoying. Hard hats don’t look good next to colonial frocks. Except, of course, that the minutemen were exactly these guys, working to live. For pragmatists, history doesn’t matter much. It was…and let’s fix the sidewalk.

For some of us, however, balancing the past and present and future matter. Taking what seem to be old ideas and finding out if they still work. Building new relationships on old foundations.

Three years ago today, I wrote the first post in the online version of Levite Chronicles. I had been writing similar things in a notebook for a couple years, poetry, comments, lessons, observations. I decided to try it online. I wrote for a month, didn’t write for six months, wrote sporadically, moved to two years ago, and have been pretty consistent since.

This is a pretty messy place sometimes. As I’m moving along my freedom trail, there are places where I have to stop and dig into my heart, fixing thoughts and perspectives and attitudes. Sometimes you just see the piles of dirt or the backhoe. Sometimes you see where the water has started flowing clear again after the pipes got reamed.

I had thought about doing a new look for the anniversary or formalizing some themes or something. It’s not going to happen. Probably. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, but with an effort to be a bit more focused, a bit more intentional. I’m wanting to take seriously what I’ve written recently about habits and dreams.

For now, however, thanks to you for your patience in walking along this trail, stopping occasionally at historic buildings, reading the signs about the amazing thing that happened here once upon a time, considering what it might mean for you.

It’s been a remarkable three years.


Although you can go digging, the first post will be up again on Sunday as part of my “looking back” series. And if you have never subscribed to the blog, you are more than welcome. And look at the ebooks. They are free.

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5 responses to “Renewal

  1. happy bloggy 3rd yr jon – you and i share bloggy anniversaries – mine was a year old today.

    you said, right on the red line, right where history was – people are

    what a very cool way of seeing and expressing the cross section of time

  2. Just as the hours on the Freedom Trail juxtaposed you with reality, so has my reading of “Levite Chronicles” for the past however long I’ve been reading you. Thanks, Jon, for communicating truth from the heart and doing it so well–and not being afraid to ask and wrestle aloud with the hard questions.

  3. Karen – congratulations to you, too!

    Amy – you are welcome. Not in the sense of a perfunctory “what do you say when someone says thank you” but in a sense of community, of thanks for coming in, in a sense of “you do too”, in a sense of … welcome.

  4. godsbooklover

    I, too, thank you for your heart which you so generously share in this space. I am just one of the many who have been inspired to greater transparency because of your writing…and inspired to blog myself.
    BTW, part of my job way back in 1983 (the year I got married) was standing on that red line in front of the Old State House (also the site of the Boston Massacre) hawking the Boston Tea Party Museum, which used to have a free shuttle service from that spot, since it’s a bit “off the path”. Wearing colonial garb and playing a fife or tin whistle, I was the anachronism who bridged that gap between “history” and now. We should all be playing that role on the Bible history trail, if possible. Hmmm…that has possibilities as a post.

  5. Laurie – thank you dear friend.

    I love the language “I was the anachronism” Do the post. Do it!